Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Since assumption of office as the Vice Chancellor of Federal University Wukakari in March 2016, Professor Abubakar Kundiri has not only drastically changed the infrastructural landscape of the University but has taken academic excellence to an enviable height while also positively affecting the host community.
When the University of Maiduguri trained professor resumed in Wukari, he proclaimed his mission and vision to “cure the university of its sickness and place it on the global map of excellent citadels of learning”. For most people, it was just another sugar coated speech typical of most people in leadership positions.
Before he took over the reigns of leadership, courses in the University were running on an interim accreditation with the exemption of English and Literary Studies which was denied accreditation. Through the then Head of Department Dr Bassey Ude Bassey, the VC got to know that there was no Language Laboratory and that without it no English and Literary Studies would ever be accredited. A modern digital language laboratory materialized, and money was released for books to stock the departmental library and the section for English and literary Studies in the main university library. The course was given full accreditation, which was unprecedented to have a full accreditation from denied accreditation within a very short time.
All courses being run by the university now have full accreditation, including the ones he introduced in the university!
Also, from the three Faculties of Agriculture and Life Science, Humanities, Management and Social Sciences and Pure and Applied Sciences that Professor Kundiri met when he came, he has been able to expand to seven by introducing Faculties of Education, Engineering, Law and Medicine.
In terms of human capital development, the University now has a deliberate policy that encouraged training of academic and non academic staff as promotion and other key incentives are merit based. As a result of this approach, the university can boast of many Masters Degree holders as well as holders of Doctoral degrees. This is also extended to non-teaching staff in the university who chose to further their education and returned with good results and are interested in academics as they are converted to academic staff.
According to Dr. Ajayi Badmus, “as at the time Professor A.M. Kundiri came, we had barely up to 8 Professors as no one had been promoted appropriately. At the moment, there are many Professors and other ranks as a result of the harvests of promotions engendered by Professor. You don’t enjoy promotion only if you are not qualified. He believes that there is no reason to deny any hardworking qualified staff his or her promotion on some flimsy grounds. Many staff of the university can attest to these facts. Very few members of staff, if any, can say they have not enjoyed any of Professor A.M. Kundiri’s incentives for hardwork”.
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Prof. Abubakar Rasheed recently described Professor Kundiri as “one of the best performing Vice Chancellors in Nigeria” during the commissioning of over thirty (30) infrastructural projects executed by the VC.
According to Kundiri, he has completed at least 30 projects worth billions of naira within the period of his first tenure that ends in February 2021.
He named some of the commissioned projects to include buildings for all faculties; academic staff offices; academic staff quarters; students hostels; university library, information and communication center; laboratories; convocation square; sports facilities; municipal facilities such water, roads, electrical and other installations among many others.
“Through the support of TETFund, we have continued to transform the face of the University towards meeting our our goals of developing to a world class University that is dedicated to meeting the human resource and research requirements of Nigeria and the global community. As these projects are commissioned, we would like to assure the Executive Secretaries of NUC and TETFund as well as members of the National Assembly and other friends of the university that we will always be alive to our mandate” Kundiri said.
One of the key success areas of the administration is community relations. According to some of the residents, the entire Wukari community now sees the university as part of them and would do anything possible to make sure that no harms come to the university.
Mr Bako Audu said that “the VC is so friendly that he makes those of us that leave around Wukari to feel as if we own the university. That is why despite the serious crisis in the area, no harm has ever come to the university. He has such a good sense of humor and a way of interacting quite freely with people including even the local people. He is a friend of the Aku-Uka and his council of Chiefs, the security agencies, religious leaders, community leaders and just about everyone”.
In addition, Professor Kundiri has enjoyed wonderful working relationships with the Governing Council, the Senate, the Congregation, all the staff and the entire university community. The members of both Academic and Non-teaching staff have worked tirelessly to support his cause.